WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is praising Sen. Frank Lautenberg as a proud citizen of New Jersey who fought to keep America's promise alive as a senator.

Obama says in a statement that he and first lady Michelle Obama are sending their condolences to Lautenberg's family and to New Jersey residents. He says the New Jersey Democrat improved countless Americans' lives by focusing on health and safety, including his work to promote gun control.

He's citing Lautenberg's origins in a working-class family, his military service and his service in the Senate, where Obama says Lautenberg served New Jersey well.

Lautenberg died early Monday morning at age 89. A multimillionaire businessman and liberal, he was the oldest member of the Senate and the last World War II veteran serving there.